Kolkata: The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) has directed Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh on account of deficiency in treatment of a child. The commission also did not recognise the degrees held by the in-house paediatric surgeon who had done his specialisation from Germany, reprimanding the hospital for not undertaking the credentialing properly
The case was filed by a complainant whose wife was admitted at CMRI in the advanced stage of pregnancy under Dr. Kakuli Acharya. On 01.04.2017, she gave birth to a male child.
When after passing of twenty four hours, the child was not able to pass stool and hence, was referred to a paediatric surgeon, Dr. Biswajit Bhaduri, another in-house doctor of CMRI Hospital. On 03.04.2017, after examining the baby, Dr. Bhaduri informed him that his son needed immediate surgery. There was non-passing of stool since there was gangrene in his intestine. He was told that nothing to be worried and the disease is curable. Before undertaking the surgery Dr. Bhaduri explained the complainant that in the said surgery, they are going to create a Stoma for passing of stool. This was temporary in nature and once the baby recovers they will do another surgery to reverse the same Stoma and, therefore, his son would be able to pass stool naturally.
With the consent being given by the family, the child underwent an operation and a Stoma was made and on 10.04.2017 the son of the complainant was discharged. For this operation, CMRI the complainant was charged Rs.230000/- and the amount was duly paid by him. After discharge, for the next three months, his son was under the treatment of Dr Bhaduri at a specialty clinic of CMRI and finally, the complainant was informed by Dr. Bhaduri that his son is fit and healthy and a second surgery for closing of the Stoma will be done.
Accordingly, on 11.07.2017, his son was again admitted at CMRI for second surgery on a package of Rs.166000/- only and he paid Rs.30000/- on 11.07.2017 and then on the next day, he paid Rs.50000/-. After the second surgery, his son started suffering from high fever but the doctors assured him that nothing to be worried and everything will be alright shortly. But the condition of the baby started deteriorating and the entire body was swelling.
On 11.07.2017, an x-ray was done and Dr. Bhaduri advised that another surgery adding that in the third surgery, they are going to make a parallel line inside the abdomen for passage of stool. The said operation was done on the same day at CMRI under the supervision of Dr. Bhaduri and Dr. Sharat. However, in the third surgery, instead of making any parallel line for passage of stool, they again made Stoma.
After knowing the above facts, the complainant immediately made a serious objection but Dr. Bhaduri assured him that within six weeks, his son will be fully recover, a fact which he later communicated to his wife.
The complainant alleged that he later received a phone call from his wife and he was told that Dr. Bhaduri and Dr. Sharat and other sister-in-charge of PICU tried to get her signatures in some blank papers. Such attempt was also made on the next day i.e. on 20.07.2017 and informed that his son will be discharged from the hospital very soon.
A complaint was lodged by the father of the child in the Alipore Police Station against Dr. Biswajit Bhaduri and Dr. Sharat, who were involved in the treatment. On 21.07.2017, a medical board was constituted to supervise the treatment. In the board meeting, Dr. Bhaduri and Dr. Sharat accepted the negligence on their part.
Then again, on 22.07.2017, the complainant lodged another complaint with the officer-in-charge, Ekbalpore Police Station about some unknown persons for abusing and threatening him and his family members.
In the said board meeting dated 26.07.2017 two issues arose as to why after the third surgery no further operation can be done in any circumstances for the next six months and hence the question of keeping the baby at the hospital is of no use and there were several patients of different kind of disease who were staying in CMRI and there were every chance of getting any kind of infection to his son.
On 31.07.2017, when the complainant visited CMRI, he found a channel on his son’s hand which was dislodged and some pus in and around the area of channel as a wound was formed. On the next day, i.e. on 01.08.2017 when the complainant prayed for discharging of his son, CMRI completely waived off all or any outstanding amount due against the treatment of the son of the complainant.
The complainant approached before the committee to take necessary steps against such deliberate negligence and deficiency causing serious physical injury to his son and adequate compensation. He also submitted affidavit informing about the bills alleging that CMRI also inflated the bills to a large extent
On receipt of the letter of complaint in the form of affidavit, the Commission issued notice against CMRI Hospital and the concerned doctors asking them to submit their reply in this regard.
During the course of hearing on 15.12.2017 certain issues regarding the billing were raised and on the same day, the Commission directed the complainant to submit his detailed complaint in the form of affidavit.
On the next date of hearing i.e. on 23.03.2018, a question arose whether Dr. Biswajit Bhaduri, the concerned paediatric surgeon was duly qualified to perform paediatric surgery on the strength of his postgraduate degree and whether the degree possess by him are recognised by the Medical Council when the Clinical Establishment was directed to deposit the appointment letter of Dr. Biswajit Bhaduri and his postgraduate qualification recognised by concerned Medical Council.
However, it was found by the commission that the credential of Dr. Bhaduri was not verified by the hospital either before his appointment or during renewal of his term of employment. It was also pointed out that postgraduate qualification possessed by Dr. Bhaduri is not included in the said schedule as one of the recognised qualification of MCI and he was registered with the State Medical Council as an MBBS doctor.
However, such observation of the credentialing and privileging committee of CMRI clearly shows that CMRI was very much aware that the degree possessed by Dr. Bhaduri was not recognized by MCI, still he was permitted to practice as a pediatric surgeon by taking an extra-legal decision. In fact, CMRI in their institution allowed a doctor, who is merely possessing MBBS degree to practice and undertake surgical operation claiming him a specialized pediatric surgeon. Therefore, the above facts clearly bring this case within the ambit of deficiency in patient care service on the part of the CMRI and consequently the committee held CMRI and directed to give compensation.
The commission than directed that CMRI should pay a sum of Rs.10 lakh as compensation to the complainant.
Speaking about the judgement, Spokesperson of CMRI (now CK Birla Hospital) told Medical Dialogues, that “We have taken note of the commission’s judgment. There is ambiguity on the criteria of the qualification as there is a lack of clarity on the practice guidelines of this specialty. We plan to evaluate our options and hope to seek further legal assistance.”